In a world overrun with holograms and Geisha robots that crawl up walls like spiders, it's refreshing to see that something as simple as a man's love for his dog can still thrive in a dystopian future. The recent Hollywood Ghost in the Shell remake uses scenes where Batou feeds stray canines or comforts his own pet Gabriel to help humanize the District 9 soldier. However, that's not the only reason why Batou's beloved basset hound receives so much screen time in Ghost In The Shell.
As the director of both the original Ghost In The Shell and its sequel too, Mamoru Oshii's influence on the franchise is incomparable. It's fitting, then, that filmmaker Rupert Sanders paid homage to the Japanese legend in his Western remake... but not in the way you might think.
Gabriel Represents Innocence In More Ways Than One
Although Batou's basset hound only plays a small role in the Western remake, anyone who's seen the anime sequel, Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence, knows that Gabriel is far more integral to the franchise than audiences may realize.
Check out the trailer for 'Ghost In The Shell: Innocence' below:
Following the disappearance of Major Motoko Kusanagi at the end of the first film, Batou steps up as the protagonist of Innocence, struggling to deal with his emotions by becoming numb to the world. Commentary on the DVD explains how Gabriel is the one who expresses almost all of the emotion in the Ghost In The Shell sequel, despite just being a dog. As if that wasn't cute enough, there's even a prequel novel titled Innocence: After the Long Goodbye, which follows Batou as he searches for his missing pet.
Mamoru Oshii May Love Basset Hounds More Than People
Innocence isn't the only Mamoru Oshii film that pushes a basset hound to the forefront. The loveable canines are a recurring motif that appear across decades of Oshii's work, both in live action and animation.
Aside from Ghost In The Shell, basset hounds appear most noticeably in the movie Avalon, which features the canine as a key plot point. It's no surprise that a recent short directed by Oshii took this obsession to its logical conclusion, actually placing a basset hound in the lead role.
Check out Oshii's short film 'Je T'Aime' in the clip below:
Given Oshii's obsession with one particular breed of man's best friend, it may come as no surprise that there was even a fan site called TheBassetHound.net dedicated to the anime legend, although this appears to be offline now.
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Amidst accusations of whitewashing and even straightwashing, it's still admirable that Sanders paid respect to the franchise through a number of easter eggs, although few were as cute as the basset hound Gabriel.
Did you spot the basset hound easter egg in the Ghost In The Shell remake?
(Poll Image Credit: Paramount Pictures)